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For The Love Of Cheese

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With a bit of spring sunshine and lighter evenings, what could be better than a plate of cheese with a few of your favourite condiments, pickles and a chilled glass of wine?

You might love the classics, believing there is nothing better than a chunk of cheddar or a slab of brie - but what if there is? It's time to be brave, step out of your cheese comfort zone and try something new.

To hone your knowledge, try a cheese club. Homage 2 Fromage run one at Tamper Sellers Wheel, with each month focused on a different theme. They've had everything, from Celtic cheese tastings to the most recent night, which was Italian-themed.

7 Hills Bakery on Sharrow Vale Road run a regular cheese, bread and wine evening, with cheeses from Porter Brook Deli alongside 7 Hills Bread and wine from Starmore Boss. Expect a traditional mix with a few choices to keep you on your toes. We've heard the German Montagnolo Affine is the one to try, a creamy cheese with a hint of blue, a little like brie.

Don't be afraid to ask for a taste before you buy and seek out recommendations. Top tips from Mr Pickles on Abbeydale Road include Cryer and Stott's vintage cheddar and the brie-style Flat Capper, as well as Swaledale's blue cheese and Ribblesdale's Gouda.

It's time to be brave, step out of your cheese comfort zone and try something new

There is also a new cheese on the block from Sheffield Cheese Masters, a locally-sourced cheese made using Our Cow Molly's milk. Details of tasting and production dates are out now.

With cheese, you need accompaniments and there are some really good local chutneys in our city from the likes of Just Preserves, Hedgerow Preserves, Pip n Peel and 'Ome Made.

To drink, wine is the obvious choice, so get your local wine shop to advise on a good match. Beer can also be a great pairing for cheese. Buy a few different beers and have fun seeing what goes well.

Urban Pantry in Crookes run beer and cheese tasting evenings, where you might end up trying a smoked porter like Beavertown Smog Rocket with a smoked blue Stilton, or a Bradfield Brewery ale with a creamy Wensleydale.

To round off this fromage feast, we've got some top tips from our local experts on how to create the perfect cheese board to satisfy any cheese lover. And remember - serve your cheese at room temperature to allow the flavours to develop.

Ros Ayres

@Nibbly_Pig

@Homage2Fromage

@porterbrookdeli

@mrpicklesfood

@OurCowMolly

Cow Close Farm

Birley Lane, Hathersage

We started making artisan cheese because of our love of good cheese. Some of our absolute favourites include:

- Lord of the Hundreds, an unpasteurised sheep's milk cheese that has been matured for six to eight months. It has a wonderful, nutty, rich flavour.

- A creamy blue, like Burts Blue or Montagnolo Affine.

- Our Stanage Millstone and Stanage Curd, of course.

What you eat cheese with has a real impact on what you taste. We love sourdough bread and we go to 7 Hills Bakery weekly to get their sourdough. It works fantastically well. We also love chutneys and honey, and would choose something like a red onion marmalade and Sheffield vanilla honey.

Sophie and James Summerlin

Porter Brook Deli

354 Sharrow Vale Road

Aim for balance...

- A soft cheese - a Brie or Camembert. Baron Bigod from Suffolk is a real favourite.

- A strong, hard cheese - a Cheddar. Make it a proper farmhouse cheddar, such as Montgomery or Yorkshire's Dale End.

- A washed-rind cheese - the soft and smelly cheeses. Taleggio is a good bet, but Rollright is a delicious British cheese.

- A crumbly cheese - Wensleydale is a classic, as is Lancashire (Kirkham's) or Hartington's Peakland White.

- A blue cheese - good British blues match anything in the world.

- A Stilton - Colston Bassett, Stichelton or Hartington - would be perfect, or go for a softer blue. Cote Hill from Lincolnshire is gorgeous.

Nick and Nicky Peck

Urban Pantry

227 Crookes

Ensure you have a nice balance of flavours and colours. Here's some suggestions:

- A soft chese - Stanage Millstone, Cow Close Farm or a French Brie de Meaux Rouzaire.

- A goats'/ewes' cheese - Swaledale goats' cheese or Ossau-Iraty, a ewes' milk cheese from the base of the Pyrenees.A blue cheese - Try Mrs Bell's Blue from Shepherd's Purse, North Yorkshire.

- A hard cheese - Go for punchy flavours, like the Double Barrel Lincolnshire Poacher or the earthy, unpasteurised Keen's Cheddar.

Throw in some wild cards: Smoked Blue Stilton from Tuxford & Tebbutt, Norwegian Gjetost (like fudge) or Charcoal Cheddar. Present your cheese on a nice wooden board or slate, surrounded with crackers and grapes.

Reece Lippolis

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